SPA boys' soccer team capped off a remarkable postseason in championship fashion, winning the Class 1A Minnesota State title in a 2-0 victory against St. Anthony Village on Friday, November 4, 2022 at U.S. Bank Stadium. This is the Spartans' first State title since 1994 and the program's fifth championship overall.
"This year … there was [a] mentality switch," says senior and captain Cooper Bollinger-Danielson '24, who was quoted in the Star Tribune's recap of the championship game. "I've played on a lot of...soccer teams throughout my life. And for some reason, this team has something truly special." Read the Star Tribune article.
The road to the State championship was built on the Spartans' disciplined offense and aggressive defense, which were on peak display throughout the entire postseason. The team never surrendered a single goal in the postseason, outscoring their opponents 24-0 in six consecutive shutouts during section competition and the State tournament. Seeded #1 in Section 3A, the team sailed through the quarterfinal and semifinal rounds, defeating Nova 5-0 in the quarterfinals and St. Croix Lutheran Academy 4-0 in the semifinals and earning the right to face off against IMAC rival Minnehaha Academy for a trip to State. The Spartans 1-0 victory in the Section final represented both their ticket to State and a season sweep over the Redhawks, who had defeated twice in the regular season.
The team belied their #4 seed at State by winning handily over their first two opponents, beating #5 seed St. Cloud Cathedral 6-0 in the quarterfinal round and Maranatha Christian Academy 6-0 in the semifinals to face off against an unseeded but tough St. Anthony Village team in the championship game. The Spartans were well up to the challenge, however, putting in two goals about eight minutes apart in the first half of the title game. The first score came when senior and captain Cooper Bollinger-Danielson '23 pounced on a rebound right in front of the wide-open net for his team-leading 24th goal of the season. Not long after, fellow senior and captain Nathan Cohen '23 extended the Spartans' lead with an assist from senior and captain Yash Kshirsagar '23. After a scoreless second half lasting until almost 11 p.m. due to delays earlier in the day, the Spartans claimed the match and the Class 1A title.
Overall, Bollinger Danielson led the Spartans with 24 goals and 15 assists on the year; Cohen scored 8 goals and contributed 7 assists, and Straub added 9 goals and 7 assists. Goalie Cooper Olson '24 was stellar in the net all season, earning 11 shutouts, more than 175 saves, and a 0.65 goals-against average; Olson's performance earned him the IMAC Goalie of the Year award. Other individual accolades for the team included:
MSHSL All-Tournament Team: Cooper Bollinger Danielson '23, Nathan Cohen '23, Yash Kshirsagar '23, Awaale Osman '24, and Ezra Straub '25
All-State: Cooper Bollinger Danielson '23, Nathan Choen '23, Cooper Olson '24, and Ezra Straub '25
All-Conference: Cooper Bollinger Danielson '23, Nathan Cohen '23, and Ezra Straub '25
All-Conference Honorable Mention: Cooper Olson '24 and Awaale Osman '24
IMAC Goalie of the Year: Cooper Olson '24